Rio Tinto has shipped its first cargo from the $2.6 billion Amrun project in Queensland, with a shipment of about 80,000 tonnes of bauxite departing the Western Cape York Peninsula on Monday.
The shipment was loaded on to the RTM Weipa and is now on its way to Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, where it is scheduled to arrive next week.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios, who attended a special ceremony to celebrate the occasion, said the first shipment of bauxite was achieved six weeks ahead of schedule.
“Bringing Amrun online further strengthens our position as a leading supplier in the seaborne market,” Mr Barrios continued.
“We have the largest bauxite resources in the industry and are geographically well positioned to supply China’s significant future import needs, as well as supporting our refinery and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand.”
“The Amrun mine will ensure generational jobs for Queenslanders and build significantly on our 55-year history on the Western Cape.”
The Amrun project in Queensland, which is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 million tonnes a year during 2019, will replace production from the depleting East Weipa mine and increase annual bauxite exports by around 10 million tonnes.
Around $2.1 billion of the total investment in the project was spent with Australian companies, including $244 million with local Cape York companies.
Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said the project provided employment for 1,200 people at the peak of construction
“We are proud to have delivered the project safely, ahead of time and within budget thanks to innovation in the design and fabrication of key infrastructure purpose-built for construction at Amrun’s remote location,” he continued.
“We thank our community and Traditional Owner partners for their continued support and congratulate the Amrun Project and Weipa Operations teams on this great achievement.”